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My Four Toptips for growing Large Aroids.

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

Most climbing aroids are semi-epiphytic, meaning they germinate & root at the forest floor but once they find a host tree to climb, they send out aerial roots which attach to the tree for support, this helps with stability but also allows the plant to absorb extra water and nutrients.

Below is my Four top-tips for growing aroids indoors.

Number One/Tahi ~ A chunky, well draining mix.

You will notice a lot of aroids have thick succulent-like roots (think Monstera roots) so a well draining, chunky substrate is key for most aroids.

I personally prefer to grow my aroids in a soil-less mix for a few reasons

(but it is not essential for success)

One of the reasons I choose soil-less is it reduces the risk of root rot significantly. Soil can hold onto excess moisture for a longer period of time and if watered too frequently, can suffocate roots leading to rot.

The second reason is it also eliminates fungus gnats, which thrive and breed in moist soil, feeding on the organic matter in the soil.

Below is some of my favourite substrates to use for aroids.

Orchid bark, perlite, tree fern fibre, coconut chip and worm castings.

Other suitable substrates include pumice, leca, lechuza pon, vermiculite, horticultural charcoal and sand.

I use my Hoya and Aroid mix, which is a balanced mix of tree fern fibre, orchid bark, perlite and coconut chip. You can create and use whatever substrates you like, just remember to keep it light and chunky with plenty of drainage.

Number Two/Rua ~ A solid support.

We want to mimic how these plants grow in the wild, so a stable, solid support is essential. My personal preference (and what I have had the best success with) is an aroid grow pole. You can fill the pole with whatever substrate you like, I love fern fibre or aroid mix, they're simple to extend when needed and if you want to propagate your plant then it's super easy to do, as every node is rooted into the pole already.

An added benefit to having roots grow into the pole itself is like in nature, the plant is able to draw extra moisture and nutrients, leading to bigger, healthier growth!

Large Monstera esqueleto on a grow pole

Left is my Monstera esqueleto on a large GrowThiccly pole filled with fern fibre and potted in my aroid mix.

There are also a lot of other support options available such as coir poles, fern fibre totem poles, DIY moss poles and wooden stakes. Every support has its advantages and disadvantages so choose one to suit your needs and aesthetic.

One thing to keep in mind when choosing a support is to take into account how big your plant will eventually grow.

A Monstera deliciosa is going to need a more substantial support then a Philodendron Brazil for example.

Number Three/Toru ~ Regular feeding.

This step was an actual game changer for me and one that shouldn't be missed if large healthy leaves is what you are aiming for!

Plants need nutrients to grow. It really is that simple. And when grown in pots indoors they need us to supply them with nutrients.

I'm going to call myself out here and say I was a lazy plant parent.. I just expected my plants to grow well without me having to feed them. It wasn't until I did some research, experimented with different fertilisers, found one that gave me great results, did I then realise the potential I was missing out on with my plants.

Large Philodendron on a plant shelf

When choosing a fertiliser, I recommend getting a good quality complete fertiliser (one with more then just a good NPK value) This will help avoid any nutrient imbalances and deficiencies down the track.

I use, love and have seen the best results with the Growth Technology range, in particular Foliage Focus, a complete fertiliser specific for foliage growth and more recently I have started using RootZone in conjunction with Foliage Focus. Strong roots and strong foliage.

In terms of how often should you feed, I highly recommend trying the "weakly weekly" method. Essentially this just means you feed your plants with a weak diluted solution every time you water. As I said... I used to be a lazy plant parent, so if I can do this.. you can too!

Just make sure to read the instructions of the fertiliser you choose and use the dilution rate suggested on the bottle. If it doesn't have a "weak" dilution rate, a rule of thumb is to halve the suggested dose.

Number Four/Wha ~ Adequate light

Indoor plants on a plant shelf with bright light

This is probably the most important of all, plants NEED adequate light.

They use light to create energy that they need to grow though a process called photosynthesis, so without enough light your plants will not thrive or reach their full potential. Most aroids thrive in bright indirect light, meaning as bright as you can give them, without it being direct sun.

I have both natural and artificial lighting for my plants. Unfortunately my home only has one spot that receives beautiful light and it's a small space, so as you can see from the picture on the right, I squeeze as many plants as I can into this space!

In the bottom left of the photo you can see a coffee table, above this I have a 60 Watt grow-light hanging from the ceiling and this is where I keep some of my big aroids that can't fit in the window space.

Grow-lights are great for allowing you to grow plants in places where the natural light just isn't enough.

And that is it, my four top tips for growing large, lush aroids!

I hope you found this BLOG helpful and maybe gave you something to implement into your aroid journey. Leave me a comment if this helped you out in any way, I love reading your feedback or if you have any further questions :)

I have linked a few of the products I mentioned in this post below if you would like to read more about them as well.

Thanks for reading, happy growing!

Kate x

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